A recent article in the New York Times explores why successful tech companies are mostly founded by middle-aged entrepreneurs based on a study being published in the journal American Economic Review: Insights. The research was conducted by economists at M.I.T., Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Census Bureau. (Note: While the NYTimes headline uses the word “Tech,” the word is not mentioned in the story.)

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The researchers examined “high growth” start-ups established between 2007 and 2014 and analyzed the top 0.1 percent — defined as those with the fastest growth in employment and sales.


Using data anonymized data of 2.7 million business founders, the researchers calculated that the founders’ average age was 42. And for the founders of the 0.1 percent fastest-growing firms, the average age was 45. Firms that were successful enough to have an initial public offering or be acquired by a larger company showed the same pattern: Their founders were generally middle-aged.

The research suggests that entrepreneurial success isn’t just a function of raw intelligence and a propensity for risk-taking. It depends on a variety of ingredients, many of which appear to improve with age.

See more in the NYTimes.com article, “Founders of Successful Tech Companies are Mostly Middle Aged”

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